THE MALE SEX ORGANS: HOW THEY WORK?

Contrary to a widespread belief, there are virtually no muscles in the penis. It is purely the rush of blood into the corpora spongiosa that causes the erection. At best, one can move the erect penis slightly by muscular contractions (and only when the penis is erect). It is a mistake to think that with the right muscular exercises one can produce or encourage erection.

At the base of the penis arc the testicles. These are two oval organs contained in a bag of skin called the scrotum. There is a network of muscular fibres in the scrotum that makes it retractile. During intercourse or when cold, the scrotum tightens round the testicles. The function of the testicles is to produce and store spermatozoa.

During the sex act, the spermatozoa are mixed with seminal fluids produced by the seminal vesicle, the prostate gland and the Cowper’s gland. The resulting mixture is semen; it is ejected in spurts through the urethra at the moment of male orgasm.

(The spermatozoa, or sperm cells, are visible only through a microscope. They are long, thin and thread-like with a flat head at one end which contains the chromosomes of heredity. A healthy man produces half a million sperm cells a day, no less! A spermatozoon takes two months to reach maturity.)

It may be useful to add a few words here about the prostate gland, which causes problems for most men, usually around the time of their “sexual retirement”.

This little gland (which is about the size of a chestnut) itself contains about fifty minute glands which produce a fluid which, when the man ejaculates, is mixed with the sperm stored in the seminal vesicle. It is the contractions of the prostate gland that force the semen out of the penis in spurts.

Cancer of the prostate does occur, but less often than many people imagine. On the other hand, benign enlargement of the prostate is a fairly frequent occurrence, and is fairly easy to detect by feeling around the rectum.

The first sign of prostate enlargement is difficulty in urinating. The prostate presses against the urethra and prevents the bladder from emptying completely. The sufferer has to get up several times a night to go to the toilet, and must massage the perineum to facilitate the passage of the urine.

If the symptoms worsen, an operation is called for, either from the inside of the penis, in benign cases, or by an incision in the bladder.

Removing the prostate may affect the urinary sphincters to a greater or lesser extent, so that they do not close completely on ejaculation. The subject then ejaculates backwards into the bladder, so that there is no visible ejaculation.

Many men feel frustrated by this lack of visible ejaculation even though the sensation of orgasm is unaffected. This is a purely psychological reaction, but it has led many men to believe, quite wrongly, that their virility is diminished.

Women may also be perturbed, mistakenly believing that their lover feels less pleasure without external ejaculation. Other women find it a positive blessing, however: a woman who disliked having her man ejaculate into her mouth can now continue to fellate him until after he has ejaculated.

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